The heat and humidity of Mumbai are ganging up to make this an unlivable situation. I made scones yesterday and in the window of time between blitzing and light kneading, the little globules of butter in the dough were already starting to become difficult to handle. My countertop is currently as hot as the dehydrator setting for an oven, and I’m starting to worry that I won’t be able to make cakes again. Bread in this heat? Sure. But cake? I think I’m going to need some proper air conditioning.
It’s time once again for the customary mango dessert and I’m not straying too far from what I did last year-the rolled meringue with Alphonso curd. Honestly, it’s tough to top that one, but when in doubt, opt for cake. It is in a cake that you will find so many ideas easy to execute because you can play with the sponge, soak and cream-limited moulds for you to cast your ideas into, but will yield infinite possibilities. This cake is no exception.
For the main cake, I’ve chosen to opt for a coconut cake that’s adapted from The Polka Dotter. To this, I add the very same Alphonso curd we made for the meringue last year and finish with a lime buttercream. The limes for the buttercream should be handpicked and green with a thick peel so you get a good amount of zest into your cake. That’s where all the flavour will come from.
I say this with a heavy heart, but my buttercream is Swiss and I’d much rather you beat it up in an air-conditioned room if possible. The cake should be chilled for a good amount of time before slicing in. This little fussing around will really go a long way because it’s terribly difficult to predict how things are going to respond to this heat and I don’t want you to fail and not have these awesome tropical flavours waiting for you to slice into. The crumb isn’t too packed, but moist nonetheless, the curd perfectly sweet and the lime buttercream is sweet enough to bring everything together. I do suggest a soak here if only to increase the longevity of a cake like this. If bread begins to start smelling so quickly in the outdoors, I’m definitely not risking cake.
Finally, thank you so much for following Belly Over Mind and telling me how much you enjoy the recipes over Instagram. You guys have been wonderfully curious and I’m delighted to announce that I’m finally about to hit my 30K follower mark, so YAY. I think a proper celebration is in order, don’t you?
Coconut Layered Cake With Alphonso Mango Curd and Lime Buttercream
Yield 8-12 servings
A layered cake with tropical flavours, this one is right up there with the classics. A coconut cake made with coconut milk and fresh coconut, lime buttercream filling and luscious mango curd.
For The Cake
Salted Butter 125g, soft enough to leave a thumb impression without melting out into a pool
Caster sugar 220g
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Eggs 2, left on the countertop when you start on your mise en place. Room temperature if it’s not this hot where you are now
All-purpose flour 230g
Baking powder 3 tsp
Grated coconut 40g
Coconut milk 1 cup (250ml)
Whole milk 1/4 cup (60ml)
Salt a pinch
For The Alphonso Curd
Alphonso 1, large mango
Caster sugar 100g
Butter 75g, soft
Egg Yolk 1
Lemon 1, juiced and zested
For The Lime Buttercream
Caster sugar 1 cup, plus 2 tbsp
Egg whites 4 (about 150g)
Salted Butter 250g, cut into cubes and kept cold right up until you start on the icing. Room temperature if it’s not this hot where you are now
Limes 2, juiced 3 tablespoons and zest of 1
Icing sugar a few tablespoons only to reach the desired sweetness
Sugar and water equal parts for the soak
Dried coconut for garnish
You want to get started on the mango curd before anything else as this can keep for some time in the refrigerator. Separate the mango seed from the mango catching the juices in a small saucepan below so you don’t lose the mango’s juices. In the same saucepan, add the caster sugar and the butter and whisk over a low flame till all the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Touch the surface, it should feel hot, but not scalding.
Whisk the egg yolk and the whole eggs vigorously to lighten the mixture. Use one hand to pour the egg mixture into the mango, butter and sugar mixture, and whisk well with your other hand till all the egg mixture has been incorporated. Return the curd to the stove, maintaining a low to medium-low flame throughout. Whisk constantly till the mango mixture thickens to a custard consistency. You can take breaks in between where you take the pan off the stove if you get too tired and if the pan gets too hot to touch. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for the mixture.
Finish the curd with about 2 tbsp of lemon juice and some zest. Stir this in and take it off the heat. Let it cool before transferring it to the refrigerator. You should also strain this curd to ensure that you haven’t scrambled the eggs at any point. Keep cold until it is time to layer the cake.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour 3 x 6-inch cake tins or grease and line the tins with baking paper.
Sift the flour and baking powder together twice.
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl using a hand-mixer for 4-5 minutes or until creamed, light and fluffy, and pale in colour.
Beat in the eggs one at a time beating between additions until the previous egg is well combined.
In batches, add a third of the flour, the grated coconut, the milk and the coconut milk, mixing slowly for 15 seconds. Repeat until you have used up all the flour, grated fresh coconut, milk and the coconut milk.
Divide the batter between the cake tins and transfer to the oven. You can use a kitchen scale to divide the batter equally between the tins.
Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted sideways into the cake comes out clean.
Cool the cakes for 10 minutes inside the tins and cool to room temperature.
Make a double boiler setting, which is a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water. Ensure that the water is not touching the bowl. In the heatproof bowl, add the egg whites and sugar and whisk constantly. It should double a little in size and be hot to touch. You could also use a hand mixer for this step. Rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers to check if the sugar has melted. If it has and doesn’t feel grainy, and the mixture is hot, then it's ready. If using a thermometer, it should read 65 degrees celsius when it's ready.
Remove from heat and beat with an electric hand mixer till the mixture is white and fluffy and keep going till the bowl feels cool to the touch. This should take anything between 6-10 minutes. Next up, add in the butter piece by piece and continue to beat. The mixture will look like it is curdling but continue beating till smooth. Add the lime juice and the zest. Beat again and taste. If the sugar is less or the lime juice could be a bit more, adjust with the icing sugar or more lime juice. When ready, transfer to the refrigerator and keep chilled till ready to assemble the cake.
To assemble the cake, if any of the cakes have domed tops, slice them off. Add a sugar syrup made with equal parts sugar and water and drizzle over the cakes. Next up, transfer the cake to an air conditioned room. Transfer a third of the buttercream into a piping bag with a thick round nozzle. Then dollop over some of the buttercream to make a thin layer on the first cake. Use an offset spatula to evenly distribute the icing over the surface of the cake. Next, take the buttercream in the piping bag and make a dam of buttercream around the border using the round nozzle. Repeat once again until you have two circles, one inside the other making a border around the cake surface. Add the mango curd filling inside the cavity, being careful not to fill it too much.
Place the second cake layer on top and transfer to the freezer to chill for a few minutes and for the icing to firm up.
Repeat this process over again with a thin layer of buttercream at the bottom, a double dam along the edges with curd at the centre, and sandwich with the next layer. Transfer to chill again, this time for a bit longer. To finish the cake, smear the icing on the sides, using an offset spatula and a turntable to evenly distribute the icing around the cake. This layer is called the crumb layer because it packs in the crumbs of the cake. Chill the cake again and finish with an extra layer of buttercream if desired. Pass a hot knife around the cake for an even finish if you like. Chill the cake for an hour at least for the icing to firm up and for the layers to blend with each other.
Decorate with dried coconut slices and cut with a hot knife to get a clean slice.